Poetry aloud: Kae Tempest's 'The woman the boy became'

Listen to Kae Tempest reading their moving and inspiring poem The Woman the Boy Became from their collection Hold Your Own.

A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit. Here, they read their inspirational poem, 'The Woman the Boy Became'.

‘'Born more brawn than most,

Born warm.

Born close to ghosts.

Born storm.

Born old.

Grew young.

You could tell she wasn’t from

The same place as the rest,

Born strong.

Born wrong.


She grew.

Growing is what anyone would do.
Given the particulars
She knew what she knew
She was ridiculous.
Born too smart and too dumb.
Born to hold the world under her tongue.
Don’t swallow yet.’

Here's Kae reading the poem in full: 

Hold Your Own

by Kae Tempest

Kae Tempest's Hold Your Own is available now as an Audiobook here, as well as in Paperback and Ebook formats. 

Hold Your Own, Kae Tempest's first full-length collection for Picador is an ambitious, multi-voiced work based around the mythical figure of Tiresias. This four-part work follows him through his transformations from child, man and woman to blind prophet; through this structure, Tempest holds up a mirror to contemporary life in a direct and provocative way rarely associated with poetry.